Jeremy’s Wild and Wacky Week in San Francisco: A Quiz
True or False: The only entity Jeremy made out with all week was a French Bulldog named Noe.
After Wednesday’s performance, yours truly encountered some serious stomach issues which made Thursday not the unbelievably delightful day it might have been. Looking back on what he ate the day before, which do you think was most likely to have caused these issues:
a) Beef with BokChoy lunch in Chinatown;
b) Medium to extremely rare burger from hotel room service just before concert;
c) A bun comprised of: yellow bean paste, preserved egg, ginger, and squash which was ostensibly dessert after lunch in Chinatown, obtained at one of the oldest bakeries in the district;
d) nausea at the ennui of hipster life.
If you were feeling ill and had to play a concert that same evening, which of these therapeutic foods would you choose to settle your stomach:
a) chocolate macaroons and filter coffee from Blue Bottle;
b) thin-crust spinach pizza;
c) gallons of Coca-Cola Classic;
d) all of above.
If you buy some rather tight-fitting, expensive jeans in Hayes Valley and then the very next day you put them on and the fastening snap breaks almost immediately, do you a) cower in humiliation and accept karmic retribution for your hipster purchase?; b) go immediately to the gym and start in on Atkins?; or c) brazenly return to the shop and claim the jeans were defective?
Jeremy’s obsession with Blue Bottle Coffee is well known. If a cup of filter coffee costs $2, and he is staying at a hotel not entirely within walking distance of Blue Bottle, how much do you think Jeremy is willing to spend on round-trip taxi costs to get his morning coffee?
EXTRA CREDIT: Calculate the cost of flying roundtrip from New York City to San Francisco to get Blue Bottle coffee. Factor in AirTrain fares, therapy resulting from the aggravation of the AirTrain, carservice costs when the AirTrain fails, and burritos obtained at the JetBlue foodcourt. Multiply this by 100. Write out a check for this amount to the Jeremy Denk Needs Coffee Charity, LLC. Drop it at the Starbucks at 93rd and Broadway.
The opening tutti of Beethoven’s 1st Piano Concerto is rather long. (This pianist takes revenge for this during the cadenza heh heh.) You stride out there, all blustery and full of confidence, and then the orchestra just keeps on going, doing Beethoven’s C-major-ish version of the Energizer Bunny. What do you do to pass the time?
a) Breathe deeply and imagine the forces of harmony moving in great tectonic plates;
b) Glance meaningfully at orchestra members, which may irritate them;
c) Fantasize about gnocchi from Union Square Cafe (don’t forget to come in!);
d) Wonder what the piano will sound like, since you haven’t been able to try it out for hours;
e) Reminisce over Noe’s redolent saliva.
A tentative question from a housekeeper at the Huntington Hotel, a sort of trembling “do you want me to clean your room now?,” seemed to imply a quiet, desperate climax to an ongoing battle through the week. How would your average housekeeper, in a fine hotel, in the 21st century, react to a pianist in a room who scattered clothes everywhere with lustful abandon and treated roomservice carts, pizza boxes, and minibar remainders with fervid nonchalance? The area which she deemed “cleanable” shrank each day until there was a mere corridor through the room, a corridor in crisis, as it was eternally threatened by chaos. So, too, Beethoven’s “purple” excursions at times in the first movement of the First Concerto, which stand in dire, magnificent contrast to the kind of simple columns of tonic and dominant which anchor the structure. Compare Beethoven’s desire to create and evade harmonic difficulties with Mr. Denk’s tendencies in the Huntington Hotel. Put your observations in the form of a concerto-allegro-with-narrator, and send the score to every performer whose email address you possess. Trust me: they’ll love it.